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Just getting one coveted Michelin Star is something that most chefs dream of getting. But three? During London’s lockdown? That’s a sign of something truly exciting.

But according to celebrity chef and Hublot ambassador Clare Smyth, the secret ingredient to this kind of critical success is one that might be slightly less exciting than people might think: good old fashioned hard work.

Smyth has been awarded not just one, but three Michelin Stars. Image: Hublot

While in Australia to launch Oncore in Barangaroo’s Crown Sydney, the local leg of her award winning London restaurant Core, Smyth sat down with ICON to chat about her approach to creating dishes that tap into our sense of nostalgia, what she sees as the key ingredient to her success and how Hublot’s art of fusion is something that she sees in her own approach to food.

ICON: The connection between watches and cooking might be apparent to people at first. What made you accept the invitation to become part of the Hublot family?

Clare Smyth: During all the milestones in my life, I used to buy myself a watch and that’s I started to become a bit of a fan of Hublot.

So when they contacted me, I was already a bit of a fan of the brand.

I love fine dining. I’m incredibly passionate about it. When I talk about the training, the way that we work, the technique, the skills that we have to do something really, really well, I’m so passionate about that, but we need to appeal to a new market. We need to be creative pushing that forward.

And I just think Hublot has that. It has audacity to just take something that are absolutely exceptional and just do something new – new materials, new approaches, a new sense of modern. It’s exciting. And I think that is what I’ve had to do with fine dining.

The view from Smyth’s Sydney restaurant, Oncore. Image: Getty.

ICON: You’ve spoken about your love for Australia and that you visited quite a few times. On a food basis, is there a dish, an Australian dish, that you’re partial to, when you come here?

CS: Australia’s full of incredibly creative restaurants, like Sydney. And it’s a real fusion of food that I really love here. And it’s something that’s unique.

Australia, and certainly Sydney, has a really lovely fusion. There’s a really Asian influence that makes that food quite unique.

Then there’s the products that are fantastic, like the oysters, which are just phenomenal. They are just, like I keep looking at them at work and just thinking how gorgeous they are. They’re just incredible flavour. So some of the produce, yeah, for sure.

ICON: With the launch of your new new restaurant Oncore in Barangaroo’s Crown Sydney, will trying to replicate what you have in Core back inn London? Or will the experience be unique to Sydney?

CS: I think that it will be very close to Core. And it is.

It’s very much that yin and yang. It’s the sister restaurant, and I want it to be as good as Core.

Of course it will evolve into having its own unique menu and style, but I really want them to be on the same level. I love creating really, really high end restaurants. It’s all I’ve ever done. And I can’t really create another one, again, in London. So this is the other one.

There’s a lot of work to go in, but I always think, put in the work and you get results. And I know we’ve got our heads down, and we’re working very, very hard to evolve Oncore into being it’s own unique, and I want it to be a globally recognised restaurant in its own right, just the same way as Core is.

ICON: You’ve not just one Michelin Star but three Michelin Stars. If you can excuse this very, very bad dad pun, what’s the secret ingredient?

CS: Hard work! And training.

Truly. You can only get 20 years experience in 20 years. Before Core opened, I’d spent 15 years of my life working in three Michelin star restaurants. It doesn’t just happen. All that training, at the top level, should pay off. It doesn’t always pay off, but I was hoping it would. It did, and it doesn’t come easily.

The Classic Fusion King Blue.

ICON: What’s your favourite, go-to watch?

CS: That’s such a difficult one!

Because there has to be a watch for every day, I’m a big fan of the Hublot Classic Fusion and I have the King Gold Blue that I wear every day and in the kitchen. That would be like the one that I go to.

For special occasions, the King Gold with diamonds. But to celebrate the launch of Oncore, I have my eye on the white Orlinski with diamonds because I love a bit of bling.

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